Friday, November 29, 2013

Molasses cookies, cranberry margaritas, and brandy milk punch - recipes for your holiday arsenal

Here are three recipes I tried recently that would be amazing additions to your holiday entertaining arsenal. Click on the links to get the recipes.

Molasses Spice Cookies: These were yummy, heartwarming and cozy. The whole family will go crazy for this simple and soft cookie. The recipe I linked to is nearly identical to the one I used, with one small exception: The molasses in the linked-to recipe says "light or dark" - my recipe said "robust or mild." The recipe I used warned against using blackstrap molasses.

Cranberry Margaritas: These festive cocktails are unique and fun. By unique, I don’t mean strange-tasting – these are delicious and most everyone will like them. Its uniqueness comes from the rim on the glass, which includes Chinese five-spice powder. It adds an extra hint of tingle to the drink.
            Be careful when making the cranberry jam. It boils down faster than the recipe indicates. I didn’t need the full 30 minutes, 25 was more like it, and for the last 15 minutes I was standing by the pot the entire time, constantly stirring. The mixture will reduce down into a small amount of a jam-like substance, so small, in fact, it barely made enough for three cocktails, not four as the recipe states. I recommend doubling the jam recipe if you make it.

Brennan’s Brandy Milk Punch: This recipe comes from May 2013 issue of Saveur magazine, but I find this drink much more suitable for the Christmas season, not spring! Egg nog fans will love this combo of brandy, half-and-half, a simple syrup and vanilla extract. It froths up beautifully. But I wouldn’t serve it with brunch, as this drink traditionally is in New Orleans. This cocktail, to me, has evening-in-front-of-a-roaring-fire written all over it.
            Simple syrup, by the way, is very easy to make. Sugar (or, I used Splenda) and an equivalent amount of water are brought to a lively simmer in a saucepan, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then left to cool. Simple syrup keeps well in the refrigerator for at least a week.

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